2018 Angel Film Awards - Monaco International Film Festival angel awards




Ruth was born and brought up in Ireland - Derry (then, alas, a city of murderous religious battles) and the more peaceful Donegal - and attended a peace-loving Quaker school, overlapping there with the actresses Judi Dench and Mary Ure. This background fostered in her the aspiration for reconciliation, understanding and non-violence which is the central theme in the ‘Betrothed’ screenplay. This was followed by Oxford degrees in classics and anthropology, fieldwork in Africa (influential in the screenplay’s mode of story-telling), and university teaching in Africa, Fiji, Texas and England, all contexts for learning about ideas, about beautiful words, and, most of all, about people.

Ruth is deeply inspired by music, loves the countryside and the sea, is a regular church attender (ecumenical), and adores her yearly visits to fantastic New Zealand. She has three daughters and five grandchildren, and lives in Old Bletchley (‘home of the code breakers’) in southern England with David Murray, her longtime husband.

In a more formal context, Ruth Finnegan OBE is Emeritus Professor of the Open University UK, Fellow of the British Academy, International Fellow of the American Folklore Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. An anthropologist, poet and librettist, she is the author or editor of numerous prize-winning academic books and of the multi-award literary novels 'Black Inked Pearl' and ‘Voyage of Pearl of the Seas'. Though she earlier had the experience of preparing many short educational scripts produced by BBC2, she has only recently been essaying feature-length scripts, so she is totally thrilled that two of her screenplays (‘Betrothed’ and the. inspirational ‘Black Ink Pearl’) have this year won festival awards, and, with more scripts on the way, hopes this may be the start of a new and fulfilling career - and, with luck (starting in Monaco?) many new friends!


LOGLINE: (Genre: Epic Historical Romance, Inspiring Love and Reconciliation)

Teenage maiden forcibly betrothed to unimaginative elderly knight falls in love with another during his Crusades absence, only to be faced with his unexpected return,as a changed and softened man after his encounter with the Muslim Saladin: a drama of the historic clash between Muslim and Christian, east and west, old and young, that - inspiration for our times too - is transcended by the sweet friendship and understanding between Norman knight and Muslim leader.


A tale of the encounter between two religions, two men, and two contending lovers: a drama of love, nonviolence and discovery in the (re-created) historical time of the Crusades, with some comic strands and an inspiring lesson for us all.

The young Norman maiden Eveline is saved from the lascivious Welsh king by the staid Norman knight Hugo. As the price for her rescue she must agree, unwilling, to be betrothed to Hugo. Convinced of the superiority of English ways and of his own narrow view of religion Hugo departs for three years in the Holy Land to fight for Christendom, leaving his nephew Damian to defend Eveline, her castle and her warm-hearted but wanton ex-nurse Gillian from the barbarous Welsh.

In the Holy Land the initially closed-minded Hugo and the cultvated Saracen leader Saladin first fight, then become friends.

From Saladin, Hugo, amazed and at first shocked, learns something of Arabic culture and of the religion of Islam - a revolution in his thinking and,even, his personality. His time in the Holy Land is fraught with danger and suffering, he loses all his followers apart from one faithful squire, but is sustained by his near saint-like image of Eveline and his future life with her, He tries repeatedly to write to her but his messages all fail to arrive.

During the three years back in England the teenage Eveline is now growing into a strong and self-willed young woman and falls in love with Damian. Assuming Hugo,is dead they plan to marry but in the nick of time Hugo returns a changed and softened man through his encounter with Saladin and Eveline has to return-assess her feelings.

Despite. Gillian’s partially successful but short-lived attempts to seduce him and amidst successive misunderstandings, Damian and Eveline, unavoidably attracted to each other but bound by honour not to speak, fall increasingly in love.

After three years they assume that Hugo must be dead and Eveline therefore absolved from her promise Entranced with each other, they at last admit their love and prepare to marry. But in the meantime Hugo has taken ship to return, has been wrecked on the Welsh coast, and is steadily making his way back on foot, still fully trusting in Eveline’s fidelity. He arrives, at first unrecognised, now a changed and softened man after his encounters with Islamic culture and, as Eveline discovers to her consternation, a highly attractive one.

It ends as Hugo, moved by the young people’s love, relinquishes Eveline to Damian and leaves alone for the Holy Land. A year later he dies at Saladin’s unwilling hand, smiling as he sees a vision of Eveline naming her baby ‘Hugo’, for him. We are left uncertain whether the child is Hugo’s (from that one night ... ) or Damian’s, or maybe in a sense from both, but certain that the reconciliation and understanding of two great religions is indeed possible.